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The ReCircE project: How you can become part of the solution

What is the ReCircE research project? How can you support us in this? Why is a functioning cycle important? And what contribution can artificial intelligence make in terms of climate protection? You can find out all this in the following article!

What is the ReCircE project?

The ReCircE project aims to improve the resource efficiency of material cycles. ReCircE stands for Digital Lifecycle Record of the Circular Economy. Puh – sounds pretty complicated at first…but it’s not! The goal of resource efficiency and circular economy is to be achieved by combining a digital product description – the “Life Cycle Record” – with intelligent sorting technologies supported by Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are an official partner of the ReCircE research project and would therefore like to briefly explain how we intend to achieve our goal:

  1. Information on the product and product life cycle is stored in the life cycle file. This includes, for example, the materials used in the manufacturing process and their properties. This information is made available for material recovery – i.e. for sorting, recycling and subsequent reuse.
  2. Thus, data can be obtained from the lifecycle file and used for improved sorting. Product and material data are made available to machine learning processes to enable AI-based sorting decisions. At the same time, data from sorting flows into the lifecycle file and represents a further source of information for subsequent recycling processes.
  3. Using the data from the life cycle file and with the help of machine learning processes and sensor-based sorting, material efficiency can be increased overall in the recycling of products and materials. This means that higher proportions of valuable materials can be recovered and processed into higher-quality products made from secondary raw materials.

How is the starting situation and where do we want to go?

What is the environmental challenge?

Post-consumer products – for example electronics, clothing or packaging – increasingly consist of materials that are difficult to sort and recycle. Producers, disposers and recyclers do not yet exchange enough information about product design and value chains. On the producers’ side, therefore, there is often a lack of information to improve the recyclability of products. Meanwhile, the waste management industry lacks knowledge about the quantities and qualities of the expected material flows. This information deficit hinders the logistical and technological advancement of recycling processes. For these and many other reasons, the recycling rate worldwide is very low and many resources are not brought back into the cycle. By the way, we at CIRECON take care of the proper and safe disposal or recycling of waste electrical equipment. Why is the topic of electronic waste recycling especially important to us?

Read our article and find out why your smartphone also contains a piece of rainforest.

…and where do we want to go?

ReCircE aims to develop a digital “lifecycle file” to increase transparency of product lifecycles and thus improve the circular economy. The cloud-based lifecycle file shares information with producers and disposers to use the collected data to support more recycling-friendly product development. In addition, an AI system combines the lifecycle file data with sensor data from a highly efficient sorting system to improve the precision and efficiency of the sorting process. As a result, lower reject rates and higher product qualities are expected. In addition, a resource efficiency tool is being developed that compares different variants of product design, value chains and recycling processes and optimizes them from an ecological and economic point of view.

It’s best to watch the short video as a summary (unfortunately the video is only available in german):

How you can support us:

In order to learn more about the current status and the possibilities for action, we need your support. Two questionnaires are provided – one for manufacturers and one for disposers. The questionnaire is especially about the status quo and how a life cycle file could help you to lead products & materials back into the cycle.

Click here to go to the questionnaire for manufacturers

Click here to go to the questionnaire for disposers.

Thank you for your support. Together we can close the loop and advance environmental protection. If you need more information about the project, the partners or how to contact us, please feel free to write to us or have a look at https://www.recirce.de/.